Saturday, June 8, 2013

Siem Reap

On May 29, we flew to Siem Reap. And boy were our arms tired! Don't we look it?

But seriously...the flight was short.

Tonle Sap Lake

Tonle Sap Lake is really big!

We got a free pick up from the hotel and realized why it was free when we saw the mode of transport...

...a tuk-tuk!

Here we go...

Paul and I had only been in one other for about 2 minutes in Bangkok. We've been avoiding them because we were afraid it would make Paul's back worse but it actually wasn't too bad. Much more comfortable than Thailand's tuk-tuks.

See, Paul is quite enjoying the tuk-tuk ride

The main attraction in Siem Reap is Angkor Wat (which means Temple City), the largest religious monument in the world. So, the next morning (May 30) we got up at 4:30am (again!) to watch the sunrise against this beautiful backdrop.

These are the passes we had to carry around for the day - and yes, those photos were taken just around 5am so that's why I look a little deranged and Paul looks angry.

There were actually quite a lot of tourists despite this time of year being the low season.

Here we are!

Purple skies

Look at all these people!

Looking towards the main entrance

Lots of people everywhere

Monks hanging out

After the sunrise (where we didn't actually see the sun), we headed in.

Paul is excited, obviously

Check out the walls

Pretty cool

Can you see the etchings on the side of the wall?

I liked how the trees look

That's Paul all the way at the end of the corridor


A closer shot 

More close ups

This chick took a ton of pics of her friend at the top and then wouldn't get out of the way 

Pretty steep - we weren't allowed to walk up

One of the many towers

Pretty cool looking

Walking around

Bathing pool

I was annoyed that this guy would not move so I could have a clean shot

Bye bye Angkor Wat

Some facts about Angkor Wat:
  • Occupies about 500 acres
  • The central tower (from bottom to top) is 699 feet 
  • King Suryavarman II built Angkor Wat between roughly A.D. 1113 and 1150
  • Originally built as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu
  • Converted to a Buddhist temple in the 14th century
  • Temple is surrounded by a 650 foot wide moat

We then headed to Angkor Thom (which means Great City) to see the Bayon Temple.

In front of Bayon Temple

Paul thought he heard a noise

A face on all 4 sides

Why won't people get out of my shot?!?

In your face!

This is the one picture we got someone to take for us - can you tell I'm sweating?

Paul posing in a door frame

In your face!

Walking around

Paul shouldn't be stickin' his fingers in mysterious holes

What is this for?

Oh, I see

Stray doggie hanging out

Leaving Bayon Temple

Outside of Bayon Temple

We then continued to explore the entire Angkor Thom area. 

Baphuon Temple (front)

Baphuon Temple (back)

Crazy looking trees

Phimeanakas Temple

Incredibly steep to get up and BTW, no dogs allowed!

But I made it up there

Pretty cool silhouettes

There were also these stacks of rocks

Walking down was kind of scary

I saw a centipede on the way down

We were supposed to see some terrace of elephants and terrace of the leper king but somehow, we missed them on the path we walked and when we got out to the main road, our driver swooped us away to the next place.

Some facts about Angkor Thom:
  • Occupies just over 2,000 acres (9 square km)
  • Bayon Temple is the only Angkorian state temple to be built primarily as a Buddhist shrine dedicated to Budhha
  • There are 54 towers
  • Established in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII
  • Tomb Raider was filmed here (specifically Bayon Temple)

Here we are at Chau Say Tevata...

Yup, there's Paul ahead of me and stretching

We went around the side because there were some loud Chinese tourists in front

Further inside Chau Say Tevata

Yeah, I have a thing for these shots

Paul was imitating some ladies who thought they were at a model shoot

Before restoration

After restoration

Looking towards the main entrance of Chau Sav Tevata

Across the way, was Thommanoneqa

We didn't go in because we were avoiding the peddlers

On the way to the next temple were these weird trees

This is Ta Keo Temple - made of sandstone

More stacks of rocks

Paul doesn't understand why I keep taking pictures of these stacks of rocks

I don't know, I think they look pretty cool

He just likes to hide behind them

I didn't climb all the way but it was really steep

Local kids hanging by Ta Keo Temple

Our next stop was Ta Phrohm Temple

They were trying to sell us flutes

These trees are distinctive to Ta Phrohm

All the world is a stage

Tomb Raider was also filmed at Ta Phrohm

Look at these trees

Walking around Ta Phrohm

They are working on restoring it

It looks like a scene from a movie! Maybe Tomb Raider...?

Paul is amazed by all the stones

These trees are ridiculous

More around the temple

Not sure what caught Paul's attention here

I don't think it was the impromptu photo shoot down the way

Yes, the tree was cradling me

Leaving Ta Phrohm

The next temple we saw was Banteay Kdei Temple.

Entrance to Banteay Kdei Temple

Paul was immediately accosted by a couple of locals

Ants marching - can you see them?

Banteay Kdei Temple

Paul hiding from me again

Walking around Banteay Kdei Temple

Local with his bike

The last temple we visited before heading back to our room for  some rest was Prasat Kravan Temple.

A Hindu temple built in 921 dedicated to Vishnu

Close up of the central tower

The central tower

I liked these lions

Close up

Goooood lion

This is the only temple in Cambodia that has carvings within the brick.

Carving inside the tower showing a goddess

All the lions in a row

After some rest, we headed back out around 4:30 to climb to Bakheng Phnom to watch the sunset.

Saw some elephants before heading up

We passed by Baksei Chamkrong - the only pyramid temple from 948 A.D. that survives

At the top of Bakheng Phnom

Panoramic view

Across the way was a hill that was perfectly flat against the horizon

Say what? We were even able to see Angkor Wat!

Awaiting the sunset

Too cloudy...just like our sunrise

But still pretty

Heading down

I like this one

Paul likes this one

View from the bottom

After a long day, we ventured to Pub Street for some dinner. We went to the Red Piano where apparently Angelina Jolie hung out and the Tomb Raider drink was "initiated" by her. 

Lively Pub Street

I almost bought 500 to win the $100 and get the free T-shirt

On May 31 we relaxed by the pool before having dinner on Pub Street.

I noticed a rainbow halo around the sun while laying around

Taking a tuk-tuk to Pub Street

We hung out around Pub Street a bit longer than we expected but left before we could get into any trouble despite Paul and I wanting to fight everyone that was around us. 

Early start

Walking around

We ended up at Angkor What? Bar...

The next day we were headed to Laos and we thankfully had a late afternoon flight.

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